GreenBay100: December 10, 1972 - Packers' cold Central clincher vs. Vikings

The Green Bay Packers' glory years seemed like a bygone era by the time 1972 came around.

The Packers had not just fallen off the NFL championship wagon, but had not won a division title since 1967. The Vikings had won the four previous titles, from 1968-71. Just seven of the Lombardi-era Packers were left, and averaged 32 years old.

But on December 10, 1972 at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minn. - now the site of the Mall of America - the Packers regained its glory of the past and clinched the NFC Central title in a win over their recent tormenters.

The game itself did not start out too well, as the Vikings continued their mastery of Green Bay with a touchdown run by tight end Stu Voigt, formerly of the University of Wisconsin in the second quarter for a 7-0 lead.

But then fellow UW grad Ken Bowman led the charge for the Packers' offensive line who melted Alan Page, Jim Marshall, Carl Eller and the rest of the vaunted Purple People Eaters into frozen grape juice.

They opened up hole after hole, and John Brockington and MacArthur Lane rumbled through them. To the tune of 214 yards rushing as a team for the Packers - their third day of 200-plus yards on the ground in four games.

The domination on the ground netted a Chester Marcol field goal, a 1-yard dash by Scott Hunter and a Lane 3-yard scoring run to put Green Bay up 17-7 with one quarter left.

Marcol added two more field goals in the 4th stanza while the Packers defense intercepted Pro Football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton three times. Things got so bad that fellow Hall of Famer and future Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page was ejected from the game due to volcanic eruptions of frustration at the officials.

The Packers carried Coach Dan Devine on their shoulders after they clinched the NFC Central championship with a 23-7 win - the only non-strike year division championship for the Packers between the Lombardi and Holmgren eras.

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